Revered Chinese Panda Dies From Gas Poisoning

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Revered Chinese Panda Dies From Gas Poisoning

Postby Linnea » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:01 am

Well, at least this wasn't intentional but it sounds like China needs better animal protection laws, particularly if they intend to have humane zoos.

(July 28) -- Chinese police have detained a man in connection with the gas poisoning death of Quan Quan, revered as "the heroic mother" zoo panda who had given birth to seven cubs.

The 48-year-old man, identified only by his surname Yang, had hired workers to disinfect a former air raid shelter he had leased to grow mushrooms, the state news agency Xinhua reported today.

The shelter was near the Jinan Zoo's panda house in eastern Shandong Province, and toxic gas used by the workers leaked through an air pipe used to cool the pandas, fatally poisoning Quan Quan.

Quan Quan was 21 years old, the equivalent of more than 70 in human terms, the agency said. Once she became ill after inhaling carbon monoxide and chlorine she was taken to a hospital, but died Thursday after three hours of emergency treatment.

According to a spokeswoman for the local civil air defense office, which owns the shelter, it was not aware that the air pipe existed because it "was not included in the facility's design paper."

The pipe was installed in 1995 to help keep the pandas cool, a zoo spokesman told Xinhua.

Quan Quan is the second panda to die at Jinan in the last two years, according to a Los Angeles Times report from Beijing, which said animal welfare advocates see her death as a result of the lack of laws in China on how animals should be kept in zoos.

Pandas are among the world's most endangered species and are revered in China as a national symbol.
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